Running Happy and Free

Brooks Running describe running happy as the emotional core of the running experience. It’s the reason we get out of bed while the rest of the world sleeps, why we take pleasure in pushing our physical boundaries, the emotion of joy that we each individually associate with running. And for the the first time I and running happy and free of injury. As I described recently, without races to train for and times to chase, I am reabsorbed with the joy of running for all the right reasons.

A brief look at the Strava widget at the bottom of the sidebar on this page will tell you, if read in May 2020, that I am approaching 300 miles for the month. It’s a long time since I’ve done that and longer since I’ve been free of the anxiety of constant striving to be the quickest I can be instead of the best I can be.

Of course, it wouldn’t be me without at least a little bit of a challenge involved!! I had planned on 20 marathons in 2020 to raise money for four great charities. Covid-19 has inevitably had other ideas but my plan is to run 21 marathons in 2021, #21in2021 as I call it!

Simply put, the charity sector faces a huge burden as the economy buckles under the weight of the current crisis. Yet, I know that the four charities I’m supporting are providing life saving and changing resources; but they cannot do that indefinitely.

I suspect you trust my determination to run those 21 marathons but if I am going to ask you to donate now, I definitely have to make it worthwhile!!! Enter the world of virtual running events, something I wrote about in April.

A 300 mile month has enabled me to complete a few virtual races, and most of the race organisers have been donating proceeds to the NHS and other similarly worthy causes. To this point, I have finished seven virtual races of half-marathon or above.

But the most fun challenges are still to come… well, one of them is ongoing!

Centurion Running One Community 2020 – Monday 25 to Sunday 31 May

This event takes place over 7 days, and started at 0001 GMT on Monday 25th May, ending at midnight GMT on Sunday 31st May 2020. My goal is to run 100 miles in one week.

As I type this, I have completed 67.9 miles so feel in great shape with a short run this evening and the weekend ahead. Photos of the first five days are in the gallery below!

Updated to read 93.39 miles over six days as of 30 May!

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Phoenix P24 – The Longest Day – Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 June

Now this one is a little different! If you thought  100 miles in a week was a bit daft, here’s an even better alternative.

Here’s what the race organiser tells us…

The concept is simple – starting at 8.00am you run 1 mile at any pace you like. You can run out and back, up and down your road, round the block, in your garden, even on a treadmill. Then at 9.00am you do it again, any pace you like. Same again at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2……on the hour, every hour, 1 mile, run, walk or crawl, you get the idea. And repeat for 24 hours, running your final mile at 7.00am, on the hour, on Sunday 21st June

And no, other than a lot of fun and a bit of a different challenge, I cannot explain the method in my madness or that of the many that will take on this event!

And the end goal…

Is this: I’ve reconnected with running and am enjoying finding fun and creative ways to enjoy it, to keep physically and mentally sharp during lockdown. These fun events keep me motivated and energised but in no way bring out the competitive streak in me other than completion.

And maybe one more goal…

I turn 46 years-old next week! I really had no right to make it to 32.

Right now, charities are stretched to breaking point as the economy buckles under pressure. We also face a mental health crisis like we have not previously seen.

I was meant to be running 20 marathons in 2020… I will now be running #21in2021. I would so appreciate your support.

There are two ways to donate:-

As always, my commitment is to changing and transforming lives. Running just happens to be a wonderful tool that I have to achieve it.

Rohan Kallicharan

Rohan is an award-winning mental health campaigner and speaker with lived experience of mental illness. He has been involved in a number of high-profile campaigns to raise awareness and break down the stigma around mental ill-health. He is a sub-3 hour marathon runner, HR Director and husband to Claire.